Germany opposes bank data deal with US

Germany has announced its opposition to a European Union agreement to share bank data with the United States for anti-terrorist investigations.

According to the draft, financial records stored by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) financial data system including “name, account number, address, national identification number, and other personal data”, can be shared with the US.

Germany’s justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said she was against the deal because of lack of “legal protection provisions.”

“I am still critical of the extent of the information transfer to the USA and the lack of legal recourse,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

The German government also called on its representative in the European Union to refrain from signing the deal.

With three other countries in opposition, an agreement on the draft will likely be delayed until after the Treaty of Lisbon, which gives the European Parliament a larger role in shaping the deal, goes into effect on December 1.

Germany, Austria, France and Finland are opposing the text negotiated by the Swedish EU presidency and the European Commission.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said Germany would try to stop the deal.

“The government has distanced itself from the SWIFT agreement,” she told the Berliner Zeitung daily.

“I consider it unfortunate that the EU is trying to push through this agreement according to the old rules one day before the Lisbon Treaty goes into effect,” she said.

Citing data privacy concerns, experts warn there are no controls over the use of the data by the American organizations.

They fear that the financial data will be misused by certain US companies.

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